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California Courier Online, September 2, 2004

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  • California Courier Online, September 2, 2004

    California Courier Online, September 2, 2004

    1 - Commentary
    Armenians Win Olympic Medals,
    But Not for Their Own Country

    By Harut Sassounian
    California Courier Publisher
    ************************************************** ************************
    2 - Turpanjian Family Establishes
    $1 Million Scholarship at AUA
    3 - Canadian Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian
    Receives "Mesrob Mashdots" Medal
    4 - Pianist Sergei Babayan to
    Perform Sept. 24 at CSUF
    5 - APN-WD Host Health,
    Wellness Talk on Sept. 23
    6 - Aspen Armenians
    Help Renovate
    School in Armenia
    ************************************************** **********************
    1 - Commentary
    Armenians Win Olympic Medals,
    But Not for Their Own Country

    By Harut Sassounian
    Publisher, The California Courier

    Armenians around the world have been anxiously watching the Olympic Games
    on TV during the past two weeks, hoping to see the country's flag raised
    and its national anthem played at the end of one or more sporting events in
    which 18 athletes from Armenia were participating.
    Several Armenians did end up winning gold, silver or bronze medals, but
    regrettably, not one of them represented Armenia. The ones who won medals
    at these games had left Armenia in recent years and were competing for
    Russia, Bulgaria, Sweden or Kazakhstan.
    Regardless of which passport these athletes held and which flag they
    competed under, Armenians still cheered for them proudly and loudly. Their
    joy, however, was mixed with disappointment at the failure of athletes
    representing Armenia to win a single medal. Such poor results cannot be
    simply explained away by the usual excuse that Armenia does not have the
    necessary resources to train world-class athletes. Armenia was not any
    richer in the past 8 years, and yet it won one gold and one silver medal in
    1996, and one bronze in the 2000 Olympics. Armenia's neighbors are
    economically no better off and yet, Georgia managed to win two gold and two
    silver medals, and Azerbaijan won one gold and four bronze medals.
    After the embarrassing results of the 2004 Olympics, the Armenian
    government should completely overhaul its Olympic Committee and put more
    competent people in charge. If Armenia lacks the necessary resources to
    prepare top-notch athletes, it should seek assistance from the Diaspora.
    While Armenia has more urgent needs at the moment than sports, there are
    individuals and organizations in the Diaspora that specifically support
    athletes and athletic activities. Their contributions, therefore, would not
    be diverted away from Armenia's more critical needs. Furthermore, victories
    by Armenian athletes in international competitions would boost the morale
    of a destitute population that is yearning for positive news.
    Of course, the fastest and the most efficient way of developing top-notch
    athletes is to provide incentives for those who have left, to return to
    Armenia. They should be given adequate housing, training facilities and
    financial support.
    With relatively modest sums of money and a dedicated effort, a few Armenian
    athletes, by their outstanding performances, could put Armenia on the map
    of the world. There is no better way to showcase Armenia than by having the
    country's flag raised and its national anthem played under the watchful
    eyes of several billion people! Armenians have less than four years to get
    ready for the next Olympics in China.
    Kerry Pledges to Fight Denial of Armenian Genocide
    Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry issued a statement on the
    Armenian Genocide last week that goes far beyond what most other candidates
    have promised in the past. In addition to pledging to recognize the
    Armenian Genocide, Sen. Kerry stated that he would fight against its
    Most Armenians, after terribly disappointing past experiences, have become
    very skeptical about promises made by previous presidential candidates.
    However, given Sen. Kerry's long-standing acquaintance with the Armenian
    community in Massachusetts, his support for the recognition of the Armenian
    Genocide in the U.S. Senate for the past 20 years, and his unequivocal
    statements on this subject, Armenians should be assured that Sen. Kerry is
    more worthy of our trust than past presidential candidates. For those who
    still remain skeptical, what alternative do they have? Pres. Bush has
    repeatedly proven that he cannot be trusted given his broken promises to
    recognize the Armenian Genocide.
    Here are excerpts from Sen. Kerry's latest statement issued over the
    weekend on the occasion of an Armenian fund-raising festival that was
    organized by the ANC in the Boston area:
    "I have been honored to represent tens of thousands of Armenian Americans
    as a Massachusetts Senator. And I look forward to representing hundreds of
    thousands of Armenian Americans as the next President of the United States.
    "It has been my privilege, over the past two decades, to work with the
    Armenian community on important issues including U.S. recognition of the
    Armenian Genocide, strengthening U.S.-Armenia relations and trade, lifting
    the devastating blockades of Armenia and working for a fair and lasting
    peace in Nagorno Karabagh....
    "I want to assure you that, as President, I will continue to fight against
    the denial of the Armenian Genocide. My administration will recognize April
    24, 2005 as the 90th Anniversary of this atrocity and will work to ensure
    that the lessons of this crime against humanity are used to prevent future
    genocides. There can be no compromise on the clear moral imperative to end
    ************************************************** ************************
    2 - Turpanjian Family Establishes
    $1 Million Scholarship at AUA
    OAKLAND, CA - The Turpanjian Family Foundation pledged $1 million over 10
    years to the American University of Armenia (AUA) in April 2004 to
    implement an innovative Big Brother-Big Sister orphan mentorship program,
    and to provide educational scholarships to support qualified undergraduate
    and graduate Armenian students who are at an economic and social
    On Aug. 13, AUA received its first installment of $100,000 from the
    Turpanjian Family Foundation and AUA has begun program implementation.
    One of the key components of the Turpanjian Family Foundation Scholarship
    Program is to empower its graduates to make long-term contributions to
    Armenia's political, social and economic development. To this end,
    scholarships will be awarded to eligible undergraduate and graduate
    students in Armenia's universities, including the AUA, whose major areas of
    study are determined to be of critical need and strategic importance for
    the development of Armenia. AUA has already sent out public announcements
    Armenia's media to recruit eligible students.
    Additionally, for the first time in Armenia, AUA will introduce a 'Big
    Brother-Big Sister' mentorship program for orphans. AUA alumni and
    students will be matched with orphans, as 'big brothers' or 'big sisters',
    to establish one-on-one lifelong friendships and mentoring relationships
    and to help with their social and intellectual development. This
    mutually beneficial connection will not only assist the orphan with
    lifelong guidance and counseling, but also instill within AUA alumni and
    students the values of helping others less fortunate and the benefits of
    participating in community service.
    "Supporting a scholarship program in Armenia is a wonderful way to support
    the local state institutions of higher education and individual students
    who have the potential to attend AUA and make valuable contributions to
    Armenian society," stated AUA President Haroutune Armenian. "The Big
    Brother/Big Sister component of this program will also help those who are
    at a socio-economic disadvantage to overcome their circumstances and
    believe in their potential leadership and entrepreneurial roles in
    Armenia's economy."
    ************************************************** ************************
    3 - Canadian Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian
    Receives "Mesrob Mashdots" Medal
    TORONTO, Canada - Catholicos Aram I, of the Holy Sea of Cilicia, acting
    upon the request of Archbishop Khajag Hagopian, Prelate of the Armenian
    Prelacy of Canada, bestowed the prestigious "Sourp Mesrob Mashdots" medal
    to Canadian Armenian soprano, Isabel Bayrakdarian.
    The official awarding ceremony of the "Sourp Mesrob Mashdots" medal took
    place on Aug. 15, during the celebrations of Assumption of the Holy Mother
    of God at the St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Toronto by Archbishop
    Born in Beirut, Bayrakdarian began singing Armenian liturgical music in the
    church choir at the age of three, and continues to do so today. Her debut
    album, "Joyous Light," was a collection of medieval Armenian sacred music
    dating from the 5th century. It reached no.1 in the classical charts across
    Canada within days of its release.
    Bayrakdarian has received numerous awards throughout her career, most
    recently taking home a Juno for her second album, Azul„o. She can also be
    heard on the Grammy award-winning soundtrack, Lord of the Rings, The Two
    Towers, as well as Atom Egoyan's Ararat.
    Bayrakdarian's upcoming engagements include Suzanna in a new production of
    Le nozze di Figaro with Los Angeles Opera, a debut with the San Francisco
    Symphony (Mahler's 2nd Symphony) and a recording project this summer.
    During the 2004/2005 she returns to the Metropolitan Opera, to the Lyric
    Opera of Chicago twice, and she will make her debut with the Pittsburgh
    Opera. She will perform in concerts and recitals in Montreal, Washington,
    DC, Toronto, Victoria, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Yerevan, among other
    ************************************************** ************************
    4 - Pianist Sergei Babayan to
    Perform Sept. 24 at CSUF
    FRESNO - Award winning pianist Sergei Babayan will perform in the opening
    recital of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert Series at Fresno
    State. The concert will be held at 8 p.m., on Sept. 24 in the Concert Hall
    on the Fresno State campus.
    The concert is co-sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program of Fresno
    State. Babayan will be performing works by Leighton, J.S. Bach, and Liszt.
    One of the most charismatic personalities on today's concert stage,
    Babayan's vibrantly expressive performances have spirited audience acclaim
    worldwide. Ever since his arrival in the United States, on his first trip
    outside of the Soviet Union in 1989, his breathtaking virtuosity and a
    wide- ranging tonal palette have brought him critical praise and accolades.
    He is the winner of four first prizes in international piano competitions
    including the 1989 Robert Casadesus Competition in Cleveland (marking the
    first time a Soviet artist had competed without government sponsorship),
    the Palm Beach Competition (1990), the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan
    (1991), and the Scottish Competition (1992).
    Babayan was born in Armenia to a musical family and started to play the
    piano at the age of three. He began his musical studies at the age of six
    under Luisa Markaryan and later with George Saradjev. He continued his
    studies at nineteen with Mikhail Pletnev at the Moscow Conservatory and
    completed post-graduate work there in 1989 as a student of Professor Vera
    Gornostaeva. He also studied privately with Lev Naumov in Moscow.
    After making his New York recital debut in 1990 at Alice Tully Hall to
    great critical acclaim, Babayan embarked on a busy schedule that has
    included solo appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra, the Calgary
    Philharmonic Orchestra, the Osaka Symphony, the National Orchestra of
    Belgium, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the
    Slovenska Filharmonia of Bratislava, the Brno Philharmonic, the Bergamo
    Symphony of Italy, the Florida Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, New World
    Symphony, and Orchestre National de Lille.
    Ticket reservations for the concert may be made by calling 278-2337.
    Relaxed parking will be available in Lots C and V after 7:00 PM the night
    of the lecture. For more information on the concert, contact the Armenian
    Studies Program at 278-2669.
    ************************************************** ************************
    5- APN-WD Host Health,
    Wellness Talk on Sept. 23
    BURBANK, CA - The Armenian Professionals Network of Western Diocese will
    host an evening program about health and wellness with three well-known
    Armenian physicians on Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Western
    Diocesan complex, 3325 North Glenoaks Blvd., in Burbank.
    Speakers will be Harout Mesrobian, M.D., Zaven Arslanian, M.D. and Rafi
    Balian, M.D.
    The topics are Heart Attack, Preventive Medicine and Management of
    Arthritis Pain.
    For more information, contact Dr. Harout Yagsezian at 323-783-1773 or Vahe
    Ashjian at 818-212-9976.
    ************************************************** ************************
    6 - Aspen Armenians
    Help Renovate
    School in Armenia
    ASPEN, CO - The Armenians of Aspen, CO (all 20 of them) recently met at the
    home of June and Hovik Abramian for their annual dinner and get together.
    This years gathering was also a fund raiser for the Armenian School
    Enough pledges were made to renovate one existing classroom in Armenia,
    many of which are pitifully neglected and dilapidated. The cost for one
    classroom is $2,000.
    When completed a dedication plaque will be installed saying that it is
    donated by the Armenians of Aspen.
    ************************************************** ************************
    ************************************************** ******
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